Coastals release new single “Watercolors”

The Florida five-piece gets introspective about their single and what’s coming up next for the band

From left to right: Tyler Cole, Gabriel Martinez, Tyler Freeman, James Chouinard, Brendan Nagy / credit: Amanda Laferriere

From left to right: Tyler Cole, Gabriel Martinez, Tyler Freeman, James Chouinard, Brendan Nagy / credit: Amanda Laferriere

Another day, another Zoom call. This time I’m joined by three of the five members of Florida’s own Coastals. Drummer Brendan Nagy sat in his bed, bassist Gabriel Martinez at a desk in his room and lead vocalist Tyler Freeman in a bright white stairwell. “Something came up so I’m actually here waiting for an appointment,” said Freeman. Guitarists Tyler Cole and James Chouinard couldn’t join us. 

Coastals originate from my hometown of Tampa, Florida, forming as a group in 2016. They played shows in the local music scene, progressing to festivals like 97X’s Next Big Thing, but it wasn’t until they played the University of South Florida’s Bullstock Festival that they gained traction. They debuted their first EP, “Figure it Out,” in 2017, receiving over 100 thousand streams on Spotify. In 2019 they dropped a single, “Daisies.” Finally, they’re back with their another single, “Watercolors” which drops October 2. 

While “Watercolors” is new for fans, it’s a relic for the band. “The first instance of it was four years ago and we recorded it two years ago,” said Nagy. So why were fans only hearing it now? 

“The song was ready for a while,” Martinez began, “but since Tyler, James and Brendan do a lot of the recording work, I think they spent a lot of time mixing that stuff. Plus our schedules never line up.” The boys tried to perfect it to a tee, because, stylistically, this was a new terrain. “This song was a big learning experience for us because we did a lot of things differently,” said Freeman with the most contagious smile. “In earlier music, we did a lot of programming for things like drums and our synthesizer, but this work we made use of this separate unit, like a studio that’s actually at Brendan’s house and it was our first time recording stuff that way,” he continued. So this time the boys didn’t rent out a studio to record, instead they did it all themselves, using what they had on hand and pushing through a process of trial and error. 

“Watercolors” is certainly a new sound for the band. “I think whenever someone gets started in their craft, you need to use the work that came before you for inspiration,” Freeman started, “Now I think we’ve hit off in the direction, and with stuff that will be coming out shortly as well, a direction that’s really our own. So that might be a reason why it sounds a bit different,” he finished with a laugh. “Plus there’s been a lot of changes in the band itself, with members and maturity. Like two of the guys in the band, weren’t even in the band yet, so that has a lot to do with it as well,” Martinez added. 

The track paints a picture with vibrant synths and melancholy guitar riffs, joined by Freeman’s vocals that have a hint of Young the Giant’s Sameer Gahia about them. Their previous releases have been more instrument-based while “Watercolors” blends both instruments and electronics in perfect harmony. “We’ve always been guitar-centric, because we love guitars, but this song turned out the way that it did because I was really getting into synthesizers at the time,” Freeman admitted. Even still, the new sound suits the essence of the group, a new wave of maturity, but still a light playfulness. 

This might be their first release in a year, but it definitely won’t be their last. The boys guarantee that it’s only the beginning.  “Watercolors” is just one song on the tracklist of their upcoming EP. “We looked within rather than everywhere else. This is really going to be an exploration of ourselves and how we deal with things that everyone will inevitably go through or experiences that aren’t pleasant,” said Freeman. 

Coastals didn’t say when their EP is expected for release but they feel like it’ll be perfectly timed with what’s going on in the world. “It’s going to feel like a coming of age, exploring what this new feel is like in the context of the new environment. Things are changing so quickly right now, and I think that’s going to continue. So we’re always evolving and adapting or recontextualizing our image as people. Does that make sense?” Freeman said with a laugh. 

“Watercolors” is streaming now on all platforms.

Email Nasya at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @nasblackshear.

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